Truth and Transience: Michelle Samour

March 26, 2011 — May 15, 2011

In Truth and Transience, Michelle Samour incorporates various media, such as handmade paper, painting and light boxes to create a unique and vibrant installation that is part science, part imagination. Upon entering the gallery, viewers find themselves surrounded by small, colorful circles of vellum. These circles seem to float and cluster along the gallery walls, reminiscent of cells and their interior parts when viewed under a microscope.

While circular forms cover the walls, the center of the gallery is filled with light from Reflecting Pools: Beautiful Viruses. This work features translucent pulp drawings of viruses, floating within an illuminated “reflecting pool.” Samour’s environment invites the contemplation of many of the issues surrounding the deadly array of viruses that are present in our contemporary world. Efforts to control their spread; the control of mass hysteria; the creation of vaccinations; and the political, social and economic factors that surround their development are some of the concerns that influenced the piece.

Throughout her work, Samour expresses a strong interest in taxonomy, the practice and science of classification. She is most interested in “how we organize our thoughts and ideas, how we categorize, and how we create systems.” To make the paper and vellum used for the circles, Samour takes apart and finely cuts fibers from the Abaca plants. She then stains these fibers with brightly colored pigments, used specifically for papermaking. After the pulp has been pressed and dried, it becomes the handmade paper surface Samour uses for her intricate paintings.